Against the Floe

Pigs on the Wing

from Pinterest

The Konungs skuggsjá, 1250,
derided as lunacy: mention of growing
corn by Viking farmers in Greenland.

But hear!

Nordic archaeologists in trash heaps find
barley corn preserved by being scorched.

Not threshed, packaged,
not imported –
grown there for beer.

Climate warmer then….

Intelligence flickers.

 

A Quadrille, as we celebrate the rejuvenating return of The Poet’s Pub at dVerse.  The prompt that Grace gives us for our 44 words is ‘Flicker.’

Source of Vikings in Greenland information: http://sciencenordic.com/vikings-grew-barley-greenland

Now, before anyone go ballistic over this poem let me add this: I am a former meteorologist, a certified science teacher (along with a few other certifications), one-quarter Viking (Norwegian… and possibly Swedish… along with a mish-mash of other human breeds), and an avid reader.  The recent findings concerning the Viking farming communities of Greenland have been astounding!  Not only were there farms along the southern reaches, but well inland.  The reasons posited in the past for their demise have fallen away in light of more recent findings (as so often happens to perfectly reasonable scientific theorizing).  The most exciting part of this article is that the Vikings brought brewing along with them wherever they landed.  …which explains the prevalence of beer drinkers in Wisconsin and Minnesota!

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73 thoughts on “Against the Floe

  1. Super poem! Yes, the world was warmer then although folks seem to think we are growing warmer. It’s the end of an ice age, Of course it is warmer! I too am descended from the Vikings and have done research on our ancestors. It is cool to learn you are a meteorologist and a science teacher. I’m a science geek myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My science was given to me by the Air Force. Check out my response to Jane. I am too lazy to type all that again. But the findings they have made in the past couple of years are astounding!

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  2. The theory I know is that there was a mini ice age that finished them off, since they had never learned how to cope with the icy conditions from the Eskimos. Their colonising of Greenland was so ephemeral, a flicker. Nice one!

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    • Actually, I was just reading something from… possibly National Geographic (the one here in the Colonies). Presumably the Viking men were seal hunters, out long periods of time in small boats. The women were the subsistence farmers, keeping the home front. There was a massive volcanic eruption in the southern hemisphere that mucked up the weather in the northern hemisphere as well. Possibly most of the men died in storms at sea. Additionally, they hunted seals for ivory. The trade with Africa opened up about the same time. Viking Greenland literally died out overnight. At one time they had this amazing cathedral there… lots of commercial trade that just withered away.

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      • That would figure. We know that the Greenland colonies were heavily dependent on supplies from Norway, and when the sea passage was impracticable for too long, they starved. If in addition, the men never came back from hunting expeditions, the population would have just withered away.

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      • Well, and it’s always been kind of a mystery. There were these letters… something about a wedding… and then, boom, everything was gone in a matter of a year or two… something like that. There was a lot of archaeological findings in the article I read. Either National Geographic or the Smithsonian online.

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      • I read a trilogy of books by Henry Treece about Vikings when I was a kid. He wrote about the colonies being wiped out in the course of practically a single winter when the glaciers descended. That image marked me. I still think about it.

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      • The problem with that early hypothesis is that many of the remains of farms are too well preserved for that. Glaciers abrade when the move. Huge rock formations become gravel. Farm buildings… even Viking farm buildings would have been scraped away. The glaciers must have built slowly over time. Everything seems so reasonable until evidence proves us wrong. There are science teachers who still teach continental drift; debunked when plate tectonics proved more in keeping with the evidence.

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    • Well… presumably there were three possible choices. Rape, pillage, and burn (also the name of my lawyer’s firm). The beer would’ve been a nice add-on to any of those activities I suspect. It never got that out of hand when I was growing up in Minneapolis. …at least as far as I was aware.

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  3. Hear! Hear! Love that title – very clever, but the picture, perhaps, is the funny of the day!!! Your words remind me of a former colleague (science teacher) who said she felt we were fools to think we change this world with our puny selves. “She (earth) just spins on her merry way and does what she wants.” ‘Tis a source of great debate these days. Ultimately, your poems wins points for having beer in it!

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  4. Ah…as pigs do fly so dost the VIkings and their beer swigging/making skills! NOW I understand the prevalence of beer in Wisconsin and Minnesota — and of course it does warm the spirits in all that snow!!! Smiling I am!

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  5. Cheers to the Vikings! I’m a fan of beer. Love “intelligence flickers’. In our “modern’ mentality, we ignore the history of amazingly, intelligent past civilizations that demised due to catastrophic, weather events. Love your post. ❤

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